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Professor Michael Neuman holds inaugural lecture looking into London’s future after Brexit

30 March 2017

Professor Michael Neuman, who recently joined the University of Westminster as Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, has given a very successful inaugural lecture – the last Westminster Talk this season - addressing the future of London and its infrastructure after Brexit, on the eve of triggering Article 50 on 29 March.

The well-attended inaugural lecture with over 200 guests addressed the key questions London and urban England face. Looking into the future on this historical day, Professor Neuman offered a vision for how innovative infrastructure could help London stay competitive on the global stage after Brexit.

He told of his vision of revitalising the River Thames: “Most major cities in Europe, and many in the UK, have made major strides in recovering their waterfronts […] My vision for the River Thames is clear and pure water that is swimmable, fishable and potable; that has green banks replete with parks and paths on both sides. Pleasure boating, regattas and a more robust ferry network. A true blue ribbon that spans the metropolis. The River Thames is the liquid capital that connects London to the world.”

Professor Neuman continued: “We can paraphrase Phillipa Roe of the West End Partnership and say that the upgrade of infrastructure makes the best case to take London into the future. […] Clearly green infrastructure of all kinds fit into the vision I sketch. They are low cost, high value ways to enact parts of this vision. London has the opportunity once again to lead the way in green infrastructure, as it did with the landmark Green Belt, by invigorating the entire Thames watershed and by maintaining the integrity of the Green Belt.”

The lecture concluded in a lively discussion with the audience, including Deputy Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt’s insightful contribution. The participants agreed that good infrastructure is the key to a good quality of life in cities, well-being and sustainability; and that we must take an integrated, comprehensive and interdisciplinary view of infrastructure for it to effectively serve the contemporary city and the needs of its residents.

Professor Neuman has recently joined the University of Westminster from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and previously he was at Texas A&M University. His research interests include sustainable regions and communities, network infrastructure, governance institutions, and planning theory and history.

Another event that was held simultaneously at the University of Westminster, titled ‘Negotiating Brexit’, discussed the political and diplomatic challenges the UK face in Brexit negotiations. Read more about 'Negotiating Brexit'.

In addition, a number of University of Westminster academic experts have commented to the media on different aspects of Brexit and triggering Article 50, including news outlets such as the BBC, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Business Insider, AFP and Yahoo! News.

The series of University of Westminster events helping to enrich public debate over Brexit will continue with Professor of EU Law Adam Lazowski’s open lecture on 5 April titled ‘Non-negotiated Brexit: a realistic scenario or a folly?’ Professor Lezowski’s talk will establish the potential danger of a non-negotiated Brexit. He will argue that a non-negotiated Brexit is theoretically possible but in reality a perfect folly – unless one wants to expose the United Kingdom to legal and economic uncertainty and to create a legal vacuum in its international relations.

There are a limited number of places available and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Find out more and register for a free place now.


About the University of Westminster:

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